Mace Head in the Form of a Hippopotamus Head
Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art
On View: Pre-Dynastic, Egyptian Galleries, 3rd Floor
Almost all of the small figures in this case originally were placed in temples.
We do not know the significance of many of these early objects. The lion probably embodied divine or royal power, and frogs may have provided protection during childbirth, as in later times.
The figure of a squatting little boy in this case may have been offered to a god as the expression of a wish to bear children. The destructive powers of animals such as pigs, hippos, and scorpions could apparently be neutralized and even made useful through their images, as in the hippo-headed top of a mace (war club).
The ivory lioness was part of a common board game, of which partial sets have survived. The opposing side’s pieces were carved ivory figures of crouching lions or dogs.
ca. 3200 B.C.E.-2900 B.C.E.
early Dynasty 1
Predynastic Period, Naqada III Period to Early Dynastic Period
Marble (?) head of a hippopotamus, pieces vertically through center of head. Ears, eyes and tusks in relief. Bulbous jaw.
Mace Head in the Form of a Hippopotamus Head, ca. 3200 B.C.E.-2900 B.C.E. Dolomitic limestone, 1 11/16 x 2 7/16 in. (4.3 x 6.2 cm). Anonymous loan, L58.2.1. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, CUR.L58.2.1_erg3.jpg)
. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 9/20/2007
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